The Syariah High Court has declared Nyonya Tahir a non-Muslim. Her children can now bury her in accordance with Buddhist rites.
Her death caused some confusion because her IC carried her Malay name and her religion as Islam, even though her son said her Chinese name was Wong Ah Kiu. They tried to have her IC changed in 1986 to reflect that but the National Registration Depattment rejected their application.
Before issuing the court's order for Nyonya Tahir's body to be released back to her family, Judge Mohd Shukor of the Syariah High Court quoted from the tale of Sheikh Abu Sujak in the Book of Kifayatul Akhyar:
"Barang siapa yang keluar daripada Islam, ia diminta bertaubat tiga kali. Jika bertaubat, dan jika tidak, dia dibunuh, dan tidak boleh dimandikan, tidak boleh disembahyangkan dan tidak boleh dikuburkan di perkuburan orang Islam".
I'll give my best attempt at translating the above - if incorrect, my apologies, and can a reader who's fluent please advise. Thanks:
"Whoever leaves the fold of Islam, that person will be asked to repent 3 times. Whether that person repents or doesn't, that person is to be killed, and not to be bathed (or washed), nor prayed for, nor buried in a Muslim cemetary."
It's just as well Nyonya Tahir has passed away peacefully at the age of 89, surrounded by her loving family. Omi Tofu!
Where to bury Nyonya Tahir?